Housing report

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The number of properties available for sale in the UK housing market has decreased by 38 per cent since the start of the recession, according to estate agents.

The September 2012 Housing Market Report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) revealed a one third decline in the level of available housing stock since the UK entered recession. It recorded an average of 62 properties available for sale per branch during September; this is an increase from 60 in August 2012, but much lower than the average 100 per branch in December 2008.

Mark Hayward, President of the NAEA said: “This pre-recession comparison shows the true extent of the drop in the levels of available housing since the economic downturn took hold.

“A combination of increased seller caution and a seizing up of activity within the house building sector has led to a significant reduction in the number of homes on offer for would-be house buyers.

“While it’s important that house hunters have access to funding and mortgage finance, a more meaningful commitment to delivering higher volumes of new homes is required to get the market moving again.

“Government initiatives such as the recent Newbuy scheme, which allows lenders to supply 90 to 95 per cent mortgages for home buyers, have not yet had a tangible impact on the development of new homes and their aspirations are arguably too low. Our research supports findings from the Future Homes Commission, which calls for a threefold increase in the number of new homes entering the market annually.

The NAEA Housing Market Report also showed that the percentage of sales made to first time buyers increased in September, with agents recording 23 per cent of market share in compared with 18 per cent in August.

The number of sales made by agents was stable for a seventh consecutive month, with branched selling an average 7 properties in September. The number of house hunters entering the market decreased slightly from an average per branch of 288 in August to 275 in September.